My daughter caught a catfish today,â€ť he said, â€śand she wanted to keep it. Iâ€™ve never cleaned one of these, so Iâ€™m wondering how to gut a catfish.
It turned out that his daughter had actually caught a bullhead, one of the smaller species in the catfish family, and a fine-tasting one, especially when taken from cool water in spring.
I told him that you donâ€™t exactly gut a catfish as you might a perch, bluegill, or small trout that will be pan-fried. That is, you donâ€™t just take a knife to a catfishâ€™s belly and remove the entrails (that would be catfish gutting) because doing so makes it much harder (almost impossible) to effectively remove the thin and slippery skin of the catfish. You have to remove that skin, as well as the head, in the initial cleaning process, and you canâ€™t just later slice a catfishâ€™s skin away from a fillet. If you ever try this once, youâ€™ll never do it again. Or, youâ€™ll never keep a catfish again and that would be a shame, since theyâ€™re delicious.
Therefore, the question of how to gut a catfish becomes one of how to properly clean a catfish. The solution is pretty simple and begins with a whole fish that has not been cut in any way. Before you start, remember that a catfish has sharp pectoral fins that you donâ€™t want puncturing your skin, so itâ€™s a good idea to wear a glove on the hand that will be holding your catfish.
Hereâ€™s the process for neatly skinning and eviscerating bullheads and small catfish (assuming that youâ€™re right-handed):Â
Thatâ€™s how to gut a catfish and remove the skin in one process. Once youâ€™ve done a few it becomes quick and easy. And after eating them, youâ€™ll want to catch and keep more. Donâ€™t forget to get a fishing license before you go!